The Messenger

By Socratus

Illustrating Wicked Problems

Illustrating Wicked Problems

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The Messenger - Immersion Issue #4: Real World Immersion

Here's something you do all the time: you go into the kitchen, pick up a cup of coffee and walk back to the dining table. You don't wonder if the coffee mug is still in the kitchen - of course it's in your hand. Virtual worlds don't work that way: you can cop…


The Messenger - Immersion #3: I Contain Multitudes

Am I one or am I many? Turing asks these difficult questions for which we humans don't have good answers. There's also the person I am and the person I want to be, and sadly, there's a gap between the two.


The Messenger - Immersion #2

Space has always been the final frontier, and spatial understanding is a big part of human cognition as well as perception. As the saying goes 'seeing is believing.' We instinctively arrange the world in terms of concepts such as FRONT, BACK, LEFT, RIGHT, UP …


The Messenger - Immersion #1

A few months ago, Turing came up to me looking real glum. I was like: what's up T, why the sad face?


The Messenger - Issue #28: The Appetite for War

and then the main course:


The Messenger - Issue #27: Cooking with Code

Two links this week - one on food systems and climate change and the other on the security angle to climate change.


The Messenger - Issue #26: Forest Fires and Climate Change

This week we have a two part extended review of "Climate Leviathan," which is a book about how new political systems might emerge in order to address climate change.


The Messenger - Issue #25 From data to stories

The data for the illustrations above all come from this article about putting pollution on our agenda by Dr. Amar Patnaik.


The Messenger - Issue #24: Bottom Up Governance

A touching article about a woman who let a fledgeling nest in her hair for months.


The Messenger - Issue #23 “Modelling the Mente”

Till next time!


The Messenger - Issue #22: Wicked Code Preview

First, an article about imagining alternate climate futures by borrowing ideas from the Cold War:


The Messenger - Special Issue: Wicked Code

Climate change can’t be understood as a standalone ‘scientific’ phenomenon that can be solved with renewable energy technologies. It’s a wicked problem that combines moral and material complexity. At the same time, we can’t address India’s climate challenges …


The Messenger - Issue #21

Fly back to 1959. Three years ago, the concept ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was used for the first time in a college on the east coast of the United States. Everyone was abuzz – can computers think like human beings? Some thought so. In 1959 two of the high prie…


The Messenger - Issue #35

It's been a difficult two years, but this week is particularly wicked. This interview with Anatol Lieven is a good primer on the Russia-Ukraine war.


The Messenger - Issue #34: A Citizen's University

The first book ever printed, i.e., not written or carved by hand, but set in movable type, was done so in China. We don't know when the very first one was printed but they were being commissioned by 868 CE, when this Diamond Sutra (an Indian Buddhist text tha…


The Messenger - Issue #18: Who are we

The illustrations were based on this excerpt from the book that was published in Scroll


The Messenger - Issue #32

Climate grammar sometimes needs subtle reasoning: should you buy local or buy food whose inputs need less carbon? Ideally both, but not all of us have the capacity to make such choices. Here's a data driven way to answer that question:


The Messenger - Issue #31: Recasting the Fertilizer Subsidy

India spends more than Rs. 1 lakh Crores on the fertilizer subsidy, the second highest subsidy after food. There's broad agreement among all stakeholders, even among those with competing interests, that a change in the fertilizer subsidy policy is inevitable.…


The Messenger - Issue #15: The High-Tech North East

A long essay on how systems change is relational


The Messenger - Issue #14: Mindcraft or how to become a wicked mind

What's your vision of the future? How do you think we will get there?